Electric scooters are here to stay and why not? They are fun, eco-friendly and easy to ride. They are a great alternative to a car and a convenient, cost-effective, clean way of personal transport. It’s no wonder there are more and more e-scooter enthusiasts every day. You’ve seen them zooming past wondering pedestrians, or swerving through bustling city streets. Love them or hate them, but they get to where they need to be fast and easy, while other people spend hours in their cars, stuck in traffic.
What are electric scooters?
Electric scooters are defined as two or three wheeled vehicles powered by an electric motor that is used for personal transportation. An electric scooter usually has handlebars, is designed to be stood upon by the operator, and is powered by an electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human assistance.
How do e-scooters work?
Electric scooters work by using a battery to power an electric motor. The brushless direct current electric motor (BLDC) is usually built into the hub of wheels, turning the wheels of the scooter, and propelling it forwards. The battery is usually located underneath the deck of the scooter, though it can be located in other places such as the stem. It can be recharged by plugging it into a standard household outlet.
Types of electric scooters
The term ‘electric scooter’ is very broad and includes a wide range of styles. It can be an electrically boosted Razor-style kick scooter, a high-tech electric ride from a hip startup, or an ultra-powerful two-wheeler that can go up to 60mph. With electric scooter laws only just being passed and refined, and the lack of official classifications, we made our categorization. Have in mind that these categories overlap and that one scooter can fit in more than one. This is just to help you get a general idea of what your priorities are. Here are the main types of e-scooters:
Folding electric kick scooters
These scooters are lightweight, portable and foldable. They can be effortlessly picked up and carried, and take up a minimal amount of space. The purpose of a lightweight scooter is to make your everyday life easier, without being a hassle.
Common features are a single motor, top speed of 15-20mph, and weight up to 40 lbs. Examples are the legendary Xiaomi M365, Glion Dolly, Swagtron Swagger, Apollo City, Gotrax Scooters, Unagi and many more. If you are interested in a folding lightweight scooter, check out our take on them.
Long-range commuter scooters
Robust commuter scooters are a bit bigger and heavier, but they are still portable. Usually equipped with bigger batteries, but featuring one motor, these scooters have a longer range. They can replace your car on your everyday commute, and some of them can comfortably go over grass, gravel or foot paths. They are also fast enough to keep up with traffic.
Here are some popular compact commuter scooters: Apollo Explore, EMOVE Touring, Segway Ninebot Max, Horizon, EMOVE Cruiser, Inokim Quick or Mantis 8. More information: long-range scooters comparison and reviews.
Off-road and all-terrain electric scooters
For a scooter to handle the rugged terrain, it takes an optimal combination of motor power, heavy-duty suspension and grippy tires. These scooters are powerful, fast and they are pricey. They are rugged and can go anywhere, but they are not made for portability.
Dualtron Thunder, Ultra, Wolf Warrior, Zero 10x, VSETT 10+, Inokim OXO and other all terrain rides devour the asphalt, but they can also conquer dirt trails, gravel and hills.
Street legal electric scooters
These scooters are generally allowed on the road because they are street legal. They have been designed to meet all the requirements set by the law and usually feature bigger wheels, a headlight, taillight, turn signals, rear-view mirrors and license plate holder.
Due to their design, these scooters have better stability and are more comfortable. You can take them on longer rides, and they provide a great riding experience. If you are looking for a street legal scooter, take a look at our article on e-scooter laws and road-ready electric rides.
Fast dual motor scooters
Most off-road scooters (maybe all of them) have two motors, but not all dual-motor scooters are made for off road. Some of them, like Rion, are high-performance racer scooters, made to go at insane speeds, but on flat surfaces only. These scooters can easily go at speeds of over 30 mph, and some of them can even reach 60mph.
Dual motor e-scooters are no joke. They are very powerful, feature large batteries and are also pretty heavy. These are adult-sized vehicles that can compete with motorcycles, and require the same safety precautions. So if you are a beginner, make sure you master riding the scooter on a single motor, before pressing the magic red button that unlocks the dual motor mode. This is the category of the fastest electric scooters, but they come at a hefty price tag.
E-Scooters with seat
Most of the bigger scooters, especially the dual motor ones have an add-on seat that can be purchased separately and mounted to the scooter. But that is not what we had in mind for this category. The real sit-down e-scooters are those that are designed for riding sitting down, like electrified mopeds. There are not too many of these scooters currently on the market, but with Fiido seated scooters, and Segway C80 we hope to see more electrified scooters with seats in the future.
Cheap electric scooters
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good quality electric scooter. There are many decent entry-level models that will cost you less than $500. Sure, you will have to make some compromises, but once you decided which features are the priority for you, it will be easier to find an affordable scooter that fits your needs.
Also, there are many off-brand models of popular scooters, and while we generally recommend going with a more established brand, sometimes you can find a real gem in no-name scooters.
Electric scooters for kids
There are two variants of scooters for kids. The first type is a scooter with a small motor, designed for flat surfaces and light riders. These scooters are relatively inexpensive and safe. The second type is an electric mini-bike that looks like a miniature motorcycle. These bikes have bigger motors, can go faster, and some of them even have some kind of suspension. But they are also more expensive and require safety gear like helmets.
Famous E-Scooter Brands
Over the years we have seen many electric scooter brands come and go. But there are also those that have managed to establish themselves as leaders in the industry. These are the brands that have been around for a while, that have a good reputation and that offer quality products.
- Razor – Razor is an American company that started out making kick scooters for kids. But they quickly expanded into electric scooters, and now offer a wide range of models for both kids and adults. Razor scooters are known for their good quality and reasonable price.
- Xiaomi – Xiaomi is a Chinese company that offers a wide range of consumer electronics. But they are also one of the leading manufacturers of electric scooters. The design of their M365 electric scooter was a revolution in personal transportation and it has been copied by many other brands.
- Ninebot / Segway – Ninebot by Segway is a joint venture between Segway and Ninebot. Segway is one of the pioneers when it comes to electric vehicles. The company is best known for their self-balancing scooters, but partnering with Ninebot they have created a line of very popular electric bikes and kick scooters.
- Swagtron – An American company that offers a wide range of electric vehicles, from scooters and bikes to skateboards and hoverboards. Swagtron scooters are known for their good quality and reasonable price.
- Kaabo – Kaabo is known for their high-performance rides that do not break the bank. Their most famous models are the Mantis and the Wolf. The latest in their lineup, the Kaabo Wolf King is one of the fastest and most powerful electric scooters on the market.
- Dualtron by MiniMotors – MiniMotors is a Korean company that is best known for their line of high-performance electric two-wheelers. The Dualtron brand offers a wide range of models, from the entry-level Thunder to the top-of-the-line Ultra. Dualtron scooters are known for their quality, power, and range.
- Inokim – An Israeli company that offers a range of high-performance scooters. They are known for their original design and for their use of high-quality materials. The most popular models are the Inokim Light 2, Quick, Inokim Ox and Oxo
- Apollo Scooters – Apollo is a Canada-based company focused on high-quality vehicles that quickly became real transportation alternatives. Encouraged by initial success, Apollo designed and launched its first proprietarily built scooter, the Apollo Phantom, which instantly became the new benchmark for build quality and user features in the electric scooter category. Today, Apollo is focused on solving hardware and software challenges that will allow it to build the micro-mobility vehicle of the future.
- EMOVE – An innovative brand committed to making functional and user-friendly scooters. Suitable for riders of all shapes and styles, E-Move’s mid-weight Scooters have consistently beaten expectations, offering some of the best battery performance in the industry.
- NAMI Electric – NAMI is one of the latest players on the field, but they have quickly made a name for themselves with their innovative design and hands-on approach. Their flagship model is the BURN-E, a heavy-duty scooter that can take you anywhere.
- Rion – Rion Motors is a small, US-based company that develops and manufactures insanely fast scooters. They offer bespoke products, handcrafted in Los Angeles, with a vast array of options, colors, and styling components.
- ZERO Motors – Established in 2018, ZERO Scooters has established its name as a reliable and innovative range of e-scooters, continually ranked among the industry’s highest in customer satisfaction and affordability.
- Varla – The founding of Varla was upon the idea of providing electric scooter enthusiasts with an extraordinary all-terrain riding experience, which gradually became the core ideology of Varla, which is to empower people to enjoy an exploration journey anytime, anywhere. Varla is developing rapidly, with branches located in North America, Asia, and Europe.
The list goes on, but these are some of the most popular and well-known electric scooter brands.
Buying an Electric Scooter: Key Considerations
Not every electric scooter is for everyone, that’s a fact. When looking for an adult electric scooter for yourself, you have to narrow the selection according to your personal needs and taste. You need to make sure that your ride matches your route. Do you enjoy buzzing down the streets while standing on the deck, or do you prefer to sit down while cruising? How portable does it need to be? Do you need a scooter that you can easily fold and carry around when needed, or you are willing to sacrifice portability for superior performance? Here are some key factors you should consider to find what’s right for you.
Electric motors are rated in Watts, which is basically their power consumption. The number of watts does not accurately represent the motor’s efficiency. However, more power usually means better acceleration, faster top speed, and better hill climbing ability.
Electric scooter motors start at 250W, for budget scooters, to 500W for mid-range commuter scooters, and to over 2000W of combined power for dual motor scooters. Extreme performance scooters, like Dualtron Thunder, Wolf Warrior King or Zero 11X boast several kilowatts of motor power. For an average daily commute or running errands, this amount of motor power is unnecessary. But if you need a scooter that can go fast and handle hills, you need to look for something with more Watts in its hubs.
Top speed and acceleration
Top speed is only a factor if you are looking for top-performance scooters. Most of the scooters can reach the top speed of 15mph, which is much faster than walking, but still fine for the bike lanes and foot paths. If your scooter is allowed on the streets, have in mind that for most city streets the limit is 10-25mph, increasing to 35 mph only in select, limited cases.
Why do we need scooters that can go over 40mph, even over 60mph in some cases? Well, the fact that your scooter can reach those speeds does not mean that you should max it out. The greater higher speed comes from the higher motor power, but this also comes with another important benefit – better acceleration. It takes a lot of power to get a scooter up to speed quickly, and you need a powerful motor to do that.
Having a motor with high top speed means that you will be mostly using it well below max output, which is good for the motor lifespan. This also means that you will be able to power up hills without too much strain on the motors and be able to accelerate quickly when you need to.
Take a look at some of the fastest electric scooters at the moment, with insane top speeds intended for track only:
Battery and charging
A battery is for an electric scooter what a fuel tank is on a gas-powered one. It stores the energy used by the motor and all the other electric components. Most scooters today come with rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which are superior in many areas compared to the alternatives. There are still some that come with SLA batteries, though they are outdated.
The most common specs listed for the electric scooter battery are its voltage, and capacity, usually in Amp hours. According to these two pieces of data you can calculate battery capacity in Watt hours, which measure amounts of energy for a specific period of time.
More energy capacity means higher battery Wh, which translates to longer electric scooter range, regarding the motor size. Most commuter scooters have between 250 and 700 watt hours. Extreme performance scooters’ capacity reaches into the thousands of watt hours and delivers ranges of up to 60 miles.
Battery capacity is important for the range, but there are many factors that affect the distance you will be able to travel on a full charge, including motor power, rider weight, weather, average speed and more. This means that all the data about the scooter range are, more or less, just an estimate. We base our scooter reviews on the data we get from testing the scooter, but also on the real-life input from riders when we are unable to do the proper testing ourselves. Our goal is to offer you a realistic range evaluation of each scooter we review.
Most of the manufacturers will list only the maximum range, which can be attained only in ideal conditions, so be wary. The rule of thumb in the e-scooter community is to take the range advertised by the manufacturer and divide it by two. It is always better to underestimate the range than to end up with a drained battery halfway.
Overall build quality and reliability
How the scooter looks is important, but what the scooter is made of should be much more important. When looking for a new scooter you should pay attention to the materials used, as well as the overall quality of manufacturing. Are there any pain points, plastic parts or overall poor engineering solutions? These are the things that are not obvious from looking at the scooter. That is why we do our best to put each model through rigorous testing.
A good set of brakes means safe riding. E-scooters have at least one braking system, almost all of them have electronic brakes, and many have a mechanical braking system in addition to that. Brakes can be on the front wheel, rear wheel, or in the best case, on both.
Mechanical brakes include disc brakes, drum brakes, and foot brakes. Disc brakes are the industry standard and they are the safest option. They can be hydraulic, semi-hydraulic and cable operated. The only downside of disc brakes is that they require some maintenance. Drum brakes are enclosed inside the wheel, with pads that push outward and create friction against the braking surface. They are protected from the environment, but can also overheat which affects their effectiveness. The simplest form of mechanical brakes is the good old foot brake. This type of brake is only appropriate for electric scooters with small wheels that do not go faster than 15mph.
Suspension is what makes or breaks your ride (and your back). It helps to improve the ride quality, reduce the impact of bumps on the road and make braking, accelerating and handling smoother and safer. For adventure and off-road use, high-quality suspension and tires are the key to ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride. For those planning longer commutes on roads, ensuring it has adequate suspension is also important since potholes and bumps in the road can be very uncomfortable with bad suspension.
Except for budget scooters, all e-scooters have some kind of suspension. It is either a spring, piston (hydraulic or air) or rubber suspension. The highest quality models combine spring and piston suspension – this is called coil-over-hydraulic or coil-over-air suspension.
Wheels and tire size
The most basic scooters have small, 8” rubber wheels made for riding on flat ground. These are low-maintenance and efficient, but do not offer the ride quality that 10” pneumatic tires do. The pneumatic tires give more cushioning but can be punctured. 10 inches is a standard in e-scooters, but if you need a scooter that can handle speed bumps, potholes, curbs and off-road terrain, look for the one with bigger tires and enhanced ground clearance. Also the wider the tire, the more grip it has. Those extra wide tires on fat tire scooters are a completely different story though. Scooters with fat tires may not be as efficient, but they are a lot of fun.
Weight and portability
If you need a scooter that you need to carry on a regular basis, weight and folding mechanisms are a significant consideration. Anything heavier than 35 pounds can be difficult to carry, especially for long periods of time. Problem is that the weight of the scooter mostly depends on the battery, but so does the range. Lightweight scooters, like the Gotrax XR weigh around 30lbs, but they are also somewhat limited in range. Some scooters, like the Glion Dolly, offer the option to be rolled around, which can be helpful. Still, if you need to carry your scooter up the stairs, the weight and the dimensions of the scooter are definitely something that you should look into.
The secret of finding the perfect portable commuter scooter lies in finding the golden balance between the expected range, and the weight you are comfortable hauling around. Is carrying your scooter something you would have to do regularly? Do you need a scooter that fits the trunk of your car? Do you plan to store your scooter inside (in the apartment, or a workplace)? Answering these questions will help you with the desired weight and size range of your electric scooter.
Maximum load is the weight limit that the electric scooter can support. Most of the commuter scooters’ limit ranges between 220 and 265lbs. This is good enough for the average adult, but if you weigh more, or need to carry a lot of weight with you, it is a good idea to look at scooters that are designed for heavier adults, as some of them can carry well over 300lbs with ease.
Exceeding your scooter’s max load limit does not mean that it will crumble or snap in half on the spot, but you will notice a serious decline in performance. To handle more weight, a scooter needs more motor power, so you should consider models with under 500W of motor power, only if you know that the scooter will carry no more than 220 pounds.
An electric scooter is a unit made of many parts. Not all of them are essential to keep the scooter running, but they can be useful, or nice to have in the least.
Cockpit and Display
Small e-scooters usually have only a small LCD display that shows basic information, like speed and battery level, while more complex models with more speed modes and ride adjustments have combined control unit, usually QS-S4 or EYE3 type of display. Recently, there are more high-performance models with proper dashboard, like the Apollo Phantom or Nami BURN-E.
E-scooter lights are essential for any riders using their scooter at night as they not only help you see where you’re going but also ensure you are visible to others around you. Most scooters standardly come with an LED headlight and taillight. Some premium scooters. like the Apollo Phantom, have comprehensive lighting set, including bright headlight, brake lights, deck lights and turn signals.
IP rating tells you how resistant an electric scooter is to dust and water. It consists of two numbers, the second one telling the level of scooter’s water resistance. The most waterproof scooter at the moment is the EMOVE Cruiser with the IP67 rating, which covers anything except submerging it in water.
With the exception of WideWheel and maybe a few others, e-scooters cannot stand upright on their own. Kickstand sounds like a trivial thing, but just try to imagine your beloved scooter falling over, and you’ll realize why it’s important. Good thing is that even if the out-of-the-box kickstand is not the best, you can easily switch it for a better one.
Warranty and customer support
Unless you order your new scooter from a suspiciously cheap seller on AliExpress, most of the distributors offer some kind of warranty. When reviewing the scooter, we always take a look into the warranty length of term and inclusions. It is important to check whether the scooter comes with a warranty for the whole scooter, its components, and maintenance.
Alongside warranty, dedicated customer support is a huge plus. Electric scooters are complex, so you will probably have questions and concerns about your new ride. Not all distributors offer post-purchase support, so make sure that you take this into account if the technical support is what is important to you.
Price and your budget
To put it simply: the more expensive a scooter is, the better it gets. However, as much as you think those high-end scooters that cost as much as a brand new car, are the absolute best you can get, the truth is many riders just don’t need the insane amount of power. Different scooter categories come with different price ranges. You can get an adequate entry-level scooter for under $500, a solid commuter scooter for under $1000, and for $3000 you can get a high-performance scooter that will blow you away.
Pick a scooter category that fulfils your needs and focus on the value. Remember that buying an electric scooter is an awesome investment that will be worthwhile in the long run.
Adult Electric Scooters FAQ
How much do e-scooters cost?
Prices of electric scooters range from $300 to $8500, which is the price of a made-to-order Rion Thrust. More expensive scooters generally provide higher quality and better riding capabilities. This isn’t always the case, but most of the time it is pretty accurate. Budget scooters are usually under $500, while mid-range urban commuters run between $500 and $1000. If you need a scooter with better performance be prepared to pay up to $2500, but if you are really into super-fast monster machines you will need to fork out over $2500, even over $3000 for high-end brands.
Are scooters safe?
There are a lot of people that are tempted by electric scooters, but they are put off by the idea that they might be dangerous. As e-scooters are rapidly rolling out around the world, a spike in scooter-related injuries is sparking safety concerns. However, new studies show that they are less dangerous than many experts had feared, and it all depends on the way they are being used.
According to the full year worth of data gathered in Germany, the two main causes of accidents involving e-scooters were driving intoxicated and incorrectly using cycle lanes or riding on the sidewalk. Like every mode of transportation, scooters have unique weaknesses and risks, but with a quality scooter, good maintenance, and safe riding habits, they’re far safer than given credit for.
Are electric scooters waterproof?
The simplest answer would be – no, they are not waterproof. Waterproofness is measured using the IP rating, the higher the rating the more protection you get from ingress. Some scooters, like EMOVE Cruser, have a higher IP rating and are labelled as ‘water-resistant’. This is only true for the scooter in pristine condition, any kind of damage, breaks or cracks voids the seal.